Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm Melting!

This is not a joke. This is truly the sign that my friend and I passed today on our way out of town. And, it was only 11:30 a.m. at that point! Bloody heat. It's nearly killing us...especially when it is 90 degrees in our house right now! How are we supposed to sleep in that?!

Please feel free to post your sympathy comments below.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

In Rolls the Heat Wave!

We have been struck be a scorching heat wave the past 10 days in the Pacific Northwest and there is NO end in sight. There are several reasons why I chose to make this corner of the country my place of residence for the long haul and one of them is because it doesn't behave like Phoenix during the summer. So, as result, Washington's recent weather behavior has been getting on my first, last, and middle nerve the past few days! Luckily, there is a little place called Lake Samm where a piece of family property is located that is only a 50-minute drive from home. This is where I was found all day yesterday with some friends from the ward seeking a reprieve from the heat!!

It's only a meager 98 degrees today, but it supposed to hit 100 tomorrow. Guess where you will be finding me manana?!

Lia and her little buddy, Kaylee, frolicking in the sand and waves. These two spent most of all day yesterday doing this. Nothing like mother nature's own version of air conditioning.

Hard at work.

Scott & Wendy N. and Megan J. heading out in Scott's boat for some die-hard tubing with their offspring.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Farewell On Whidbey...

Yesterday, Lia and I packed up and headed out on a 10-hour excursion together to Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound to bid my good friend, Kristina, farewell. For the past year, Kristina has been involved in a long-distance relationship with the love of her life in Crested Butte, Colorado. Tomorrow, this will all come to an end as the two of them begin the drive back to Colorado with her entire life packed up in a Penske truck. I will dearly miss her. However, I am so excited for her recent engagement and her pending nuptials on 5.15.10 (cool date, huh?).

Kristina and her parents hosted a farewell/engagement party yesterday at her parents' brand new and beautiful home on their 5-acre property on Whidbey Island. Lia and I had to take the Mukilteo ferry there and back, but were blown away by the summer, Saturday traffic going both directions! So, although we made great time getting to the ferry terminal both coming and going, we got stuck in a nasty, Disneyland-like line that last 1.5 hours going and 1 hour coming home. So, we actually spent six hours in the car yesterday! I commented to Ron last night that we almost could have made it to Priest Lake in that much time! Luckily, Lia was her normal wonderful self and dealt with all the waiting like an old pro.

Please note that once again, our husband and daddy was not able to join us (although this event has been on the calendar for months) due to two pesky papers and a 50-minute presentation due next week. Argh! We are all getting a little tired of this. School schmool!

After we made it down to the actual terminal and paid for our boarding, we were able to park in lane #8 and get out and explore down around the docks for a bit. Lia was fascinated with all of the seagulls and kept on calling them dogs.

Here goes the 2:30 ferry that we should have been on!

Up at the Weber compound. Kristina, Lia, and me. And, yes, I know....Lia's bangs are in dire need of a haircut! I'll get to that this week, I promise!

The happy couple: Nick and Kristina. Look how they glow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mama Long Legs!

The title says it all.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

17th Month Check-In

Today marks Lia's 17-month birthday. Time is just flying by and my baby girl isn't so much of a baby anymore. Last week was really and truly the first time that I looked at her and said to myself, "You aren't a baby anymore. You're a little girl!" So, the transition has been made. Now, people are going to start asking me when the next baby is coming. Can't wait for that. Anyways, Lia has really been changing and developing this month. There are so many things that she is beginning to understand. I find myself constantly being surprised by the connections she is making and the things that she is remembering. So, here is a brief (at least I am going to try to make it brief) list of her latest developments and changes in the last month!

1. She has discovered the art of throwing herself flat on the floor and throwing mini-tantrums. I say mini because her tantrums are not the full-blown, lengthy ones I have observed from older children. I'm sure that time will bring that blessing into our lives.
2. She has started to become quite confident in the running department. She still looks a little awkward and odd while doing it, but at least it's getting her places a little faster than walking.
3. The Lia of old in the eating department is back!!! I love it! She is now back to eating 99% of what we put in front of her. Hooray! I haven't touched those baby food jars in weeks. She is eating all of the dinner foods and all of the veggies that we place on her tray....and I'm talking things like zucchini and yellow squash and broccoli and green and red peppers. I'm loving it! If it would only last forever. On a slight different note, she has also really started to feed herself a lot of things with her spoon. In fact, she now insists that the bowl and the spoon be placed on her tray during mealtime.
4. Her baby doll has been demoted. I mean totally demoted. That little doll had become Lia's fifth appendage over the last many weeks. Then, one day, that switched got turned off when Lia discovered the soft bunny that has been laying in her crib for OVER a year! I have no idea what triggered this change in preference, but her bunny is now #1! Where Lia goes, it goes.
5. This is my favorite development of the month....Lia has started to pat things. When you hug her, she will sometimes pat your back and when she wants you to sit down by her, she will now pet the floor/stair/rock she is sitting on. Too cute!
6. Although Lia has been waving for months in order to say "bye," she has now begun doing it while saying "hi." Her wave has also gone through a three-phase transition this started out as an opening and closing of the hand months ago and then evolved into a crab-like pinching of the fingers (my favorite) a few weeks ago and is now a crazy, spastic wave of the entire hand through the air.
7. She has picked up lots of new words this month: boat, thank you (sounds like doo-doo and she says it while giving you something instead of receiving something), ABC, 123, no (argh! she finally learned that word from someone....we don't know who as we never say it), meeow (but she says "meenow"), weeeeee, hi, bye, see (learned that one from grandpa), bee (learned that from grandma), shovel (shuh), choo choo, outside, touch, and poo poo. She also has begun to understand a lot of phrases like "Give the shoes to mama," or "Do yo want to go on a bike ride?," or "Give papa a kiss."
8. She can now blow kisses and give them! So, so, so cute!
9. She has really fallen in love with water play. All of this has been discovered in the past month as we have gone to the Lake Samm and Priest Lake beaches and Blake Island. She loves playing in the sand and on the water's edge (she learned the word "weeeeee" from her grandma while the waves come in), throwing rocks, and most especially jumping into my arms from the dock. Wow! She is fearless as it's like a two-foot drop down to me in the water! Lia has also really started to enjoy playing in her backyard (why she uses the word "outside"). She loves playing on her swing set and in her little clubhouse with daddy.
10. Lia has really grown attached to her daddy (especially after this past weekend when it was just the two of them for four days). She now cries when he leaves each day to go to school and when I take her away from him at night so that he can get his homework done. I think we just might have a daddy's girl in the making.......I'm simply becoming more of an accessory in this house. ;-)

A few pics from her 16th month...

Lia discovering the "big person" chair in the kitchen.

"Terrycloth Togetherness." Grandma and baby playing at Priest Lake in their almost matching outfits.

Lia battling with her shoes. Sometimes she gets so mad when she can't get them off. That's where I come into play, but remember that I'm just an accessory these days!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Going Back to Cali

Almost 25 months to the day, I had the chance to return to my beloved So. California for the first time since moving to attend the wedding of my dear friend, Emily. Since Ron is in school and all three of us will be going down to CA in September to attend his cousin's wedding, I went alone this first time back. It was such a wonderful and busy four days! It actually felt pretty surreal as I had the chance to visit many places that I knew and loved so well while I was living down there.....the memories swirled around my head all weekend long. Amidst the wedding festivities, I was able to take many walks down memory lane during my short time there. From watching the sunset in Huntington Beach to walking around Ron's and my old middle school to eating at some of our favorite restaurants in Long Beach to sneaking around my old apt. in HB and our "newlywed apt" in LB to spending the day at my all-time favorite beach in Laguna to attending church in my old singles' ward building to driving past where we got engaged. Oh, the list could go on and one. It was wonderful to revisit a place that I grew to love so much, but realized in the process how much my hubby was a part of that place. I missed him a lot while I was down there (and felt like a bit of a traitor while eating at the taqueria without him! Sorry, Ron!). However, I can't wait to do it all over again this fall with him at my side! Here is a peak at what I did while I was there.....

First stop after flying into the OC airport: Lunch in Long Beach with my hilarious co-worker, Kathi, at the BEST Lebanese restaurant in the world...Open Sesame!

Second stop: Sweet Jill's Bakery in Long Beach for my long-awaited red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting on top. This place is Ron's and my heaven on earth. You can seriously smell this bakery for blocks.

It's as ghetto as it looks and as good as it gets: La Taqueria Mexicana. The best Mexican food in all of Long Beach and it was only a block from our apartment. I can't even count the amount of times I ordered the to-die-for chicken burrito from this shack on the corner.

Our newlywed apartment that we lived in for the first two years of our marriage: 390 Obispo Avenue. It's located right on the border of where good goes to bad in Long Beach. So, although, I never really feared for my life, I definitely experienced my fair share of classic Long Beach moments while living there. Oh, the stories Ron and I could tell....

The sign at the entrance of the school where I met my husband. *sigh* I taught there for six years and Ron for seven. Apparently, they need to hire us back as they still haven't figured out where to use commas or what words should and should not be capitalized! Geez!

After rattling around Long Beach for a few hours, I headed up to Villa Park to attend Emily and DJ's wedding reception that was held in the backyard of an amazing house in the ward where she grew up!

From the trail to Machu Piccu to the beaches of Bali, Emily and I have quite a history. She was one of a few super close friends I made during my four years in HB before getting married. I have so many funny memories with this girl and I love her to death. What an honor it was to see her marry the love of her life at the age of 34! I couldn't be happier for her!

Day #2 started out with breakfast at Ruby's on the HB pier with yet another favorite co-worker from my days at Hill, Miss Megan.

I just happened to be in town during the week that the Hurley US Open was being held. Did I really used to live in this town?

"Surfer Row" off of the north side of the pier. They are a permanent fixture on this beach.

A shot of glorious Huntington Beach where I spent many an hours swimming, relaxing, and jogging during my carefree days of 2001-2005.

After breakfast at Ruby's, I headed over to the glorious Newport Beach Temple to attend Em's wedding at noon. This temple was built during most of the years I was living in HB and it was dedicated a month after Ron and I were married. As a result, we were able to attend this temple every month before moving to WA instead of having to battle the horrid traffic up to the LA Temple. I love this temple. It is so beautiful (I mean, c'mon, it's made of pink marble!) and is located in such a lovely area.

More shots of the temple.

Emily doing what she does best right after tieing the knot to DJ (those of you who know her, will get that comment). Clearly her nephew to the left wasn't quite as into the whole thing as the she was.

Look how they glow.

Em and her girls.

I also found some time to go back to my old apartment complex and wander around here a bit. I lived in apt. #B9 for four years and have many fond memories of this place. My bedroom is the one on the left above the garage.

This was my all-time favorite street in Huntington Beach. It's six blocks from the beach and appropriately named Palm Avenue. Aren't those the coolest trees?!

On the last day I was there (Monday), I made it my sole priority to drive all the way down to my favorite beach in Laguna to spend the day before flying out. It's called Thousand Steps and it's one of those hard-to-find, only locals-go-to-beaches off of the PCH. You basically would never notice it if you were just driving down the road. The entrance is only about ten feet wide with a tiny, faded sign hidden underneath a tree (see above). I love it for many reasons: the sand is so white, the water is so blue, the beach goes on forever, it's never crowded, gorgeous mansions look down on it from a cliff above, and there is a cave at one end and a natural arch at the other. It became the only beach where Ron and I would go swimming. Yes, I'll admit, I became a bit of a beach snob during my 6-year stint in Cali.

Me on the thousand steps (well, it's really on 222 steps down to the beach...but, still, you get the point!).

The surfers and skimboarders down at "my end" of the beach. Notice the cave off in the distance.

Happy feet.

The granddaddy, mega-mansion of them all! This "house" looks down on the southern end of the beach where I always go. My brother once zillowed it....I think it was valued at 12 million dollars. No biggie.

My friend, Mariellen, came and joined me for the last two or so hours I was down there. Here we are before leaving my beloved beach and heading off. What a great weekend....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Fruits of our Labor....

So after being away from our garden for over ten days, this is what I came home to Sunday night. I couldn't resist and rushed right out to do some "harvesting." Let the eating games begin!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Paradise Found

Lia and I returned yesterday from a glorious ten day vacation at my parents' cabin on Priest Lake. Since I no longer have the time, money, or means to vacation in places such as Mykonos or Moorea, Priest Lake has truly become my paradise these past few years. I absolutely love it up there! And, it was a treat to share the time with my daughter and parents. Of the days we were on vacation, we were fortunate enough to have five fabulous, sunny days in the 80s and 90s (and those of you who know how wild and untamed the weather can be at Priest Lake will appreciate that!).

During these sunny, warm days, we busied ourselves with some of the following....

I did a bunch of this down on the dock and at the beach. I read The Shack and am 2/3 of my way through the never-ending book, The Pillars of the Earth. Good grief!

Every morning, we headed out to do some of this! My absolute favorite.

Lia and I enjoyed doing a bunch of this (the swimming, not the kissing).

Lia became a professional at doing this....

and playing in this!

All four of us became experts in this (well, Lia already is one).

And, of course, we did a lot of this!

And, spent a lot of time watching this from the deck each evening. Look at that view!

And, on the rainy, cold days.....

I FINALLY broke out my birthday gift pictured above and did a little of this.

I took those on the left and made them into these on the right (I think all onesies after 12 months only get in the way).

And, made both of these.

And, Lia spent a lot of time doing this with any willing participant.

And, also played in her magic, blue tent with this, that, and the other thing (yes, that's her toothbrush and toothpaste).

And, most importantly, we convinced Ron to drive 14-hours round trip, to spend his two days off from school with us.

While there, he did a TON of this.

But, I was just grateful that we could be this for 48-hours!